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Ammonia Problem

Nimbose

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So... I'm having an issue I'm sure many people have had before and I just can't find a way to get it to go away.​
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My 120 litre tropical tank has had an ammonia spike and it refuses to go lower than 0.50ppm; granted, it's better than it was and it was actually off the charts and killed five of my fish, but... I'm still not comfortable. Any ammonia is bad, after all.​
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I don't have the other readings right now as it's quite late and I might wake people up if I start fussing around, but last time I checked, my PH, nitrates and nitrites were all within safe levels. The only problem is the ammonia.​
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The temperature of my tank is 76-78°F. I use a Fluval U3 internal filter with high oxygenation, along with two amazon broad leaf plants. My substrate of choice is a smooth pebble-like gravel.​
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The fish I have left aaaare;
Two very young Kissing Gouramis​
One Red Honey Gourami​
Three veeery large Zebra Danios​
One Weather Loach​
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The fish that died from the ammonia spike were;
Two Panda Garras​
Two Red Shiners​
One Chinese Algae Eater​
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I feed them a mixture of Tetra Pro Energy and Tetra Pro Algae in small bursts; most likely two to three crisps (which are pretty tiny) which I then crumble to allow the smaller fish to eat it; they always finish within a minute and I make sure there's no waste. I used to also feed them with frozen bloodworm and algae wafers, but since my bottom feeders have died, the wafers don't get completely eaten and I don't want it to add to the problem.​
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The tank has been running for a couple of months now, as I upgraded from a smaller 64 litre one.​
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I've tested my tap water and there is absolutely no ammonia, so that's not the problem.​
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I use API StressCoat to get rid of chlorine and chloramines, and I add API StessZyme once a week. I also add Evolution Aqua Pure Balls but not as often or as much as it says on the packet as I've noticed they leave little husks and it's quite messy.​
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I've done several water changes every few days; mostly 25% and a few 50% ones. I also cleaned the filter using tank water but only once as I don't want to overdo it. I vacuumed the gravel every time, too.​
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I tried using Interpet Ammonia Remover, and while it got rid of the huge spike I had that caused the fish deaths, it hasn't done anything to help my problem now. I just can't seem to figure out the problem and it's driving me nuts!​
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Any tips would be appreciated; I'm very worried that my other fish will die and I'm very attached to them. Especially my little honey gourami, Tiki. He's such a friendly lil' guy. :c​
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Please and thank you! ;A;​
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Bonus Photo; one of my Kissing Gouramis!
 
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First thing you should do is change as much of the water as possible, drain as much as you can leaving just enough so that the fish are swimming upright, about 90%. Make sure you treat and temperature match the new water with your dechlorinator. You really need to do a single large water change rather than several small ones. Each small change is less effective than the last, if you started at say 4ppm it would take 8 25% water changes back to back to bring it down to .5ppm! Whereas a single 90% water change would bring 4ppm down to .4ppm, which is still high, but then another 90% water change the next day would most likely bring it down to undetectable levels.

As far as trying to figure out what caused it, when you say that pH, nitrite and nitrate were at safe levels, what were the readings? You also said that you recently upgraded from a smaller tank, did you cycle this new filter? If so, how? Were there any new additions to the tank, living or not? Were there any other strange test results other than ammonia in the days before the spike, such as an abnormally low pH or drastic temperature change?
 
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Nimbose

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FreshwaterAfishianado said:
First thing you should do is change as much of the water as possible, drain as much as you can leaving just enough so that the fish are swimming upright, about 90%. Make sure you treat and temperature match the new water with your dechlorinator. You really need to do a single large water change rather than several small ones. Each small change is less effective than the last, if you started at say 4ppm it would take 8 25% water changes back to back to bring it down to .5ppm! Whereas a single 90% water change would bring 4ppm down to .4ppm, which is still high, but then another 90% water change the next day would most likely bring it down to undetectable levels.

As far as trying to figure out what caused it, when you say that pH, nitrite and nitrate were at safe levels, what were the readings? You also said that you recently upgraded from a smaller tank, did you cycle this new filter? If so, how? Were there any new additions to the tank, living or not? Were there any other strange test results other than ammonia in the days before the spike, such as an abnormally low pH or drastic temperature change?
Okay, I'll give that a try... I imagine it'll take a while but it's better than my fish getting sick because of the ammonia. 
 
As for the readings, I honestly can't remember the numbers. The only thing I know is when I looked up appropriate levels for tank and when I followed the instructions, everything came out clear. I'll have to do another test of everything tomorrow and I'll post them here to give you a better idea; who knows, that might have changed since then... Hmn.
 
As for cycling the filter, I unfortunately didn't. I made the rookie mistake of thinking those silly 'makes the water safe instantly' treatments would sort everything out for me as I quickly needed to swap the fish over; the old filter from my smaller tank was quickly starting to break down while the one that came with the tank was far too large to go into the smaller tank. I really should have put in some old tank water; it was a stupid mistake and I'm paying for it. Argh... Wasn't thinking straight. I'm not a beginner, but I'm definitely not an expert when it comes to fish and I've made a few silly mistakes.
 
There weren't any new additions but now that you mention a temperature change, my country had a heat wave and the temperatures were incredibly high without the heater on. Around 80 degrees when I had set the heater to around 74. The tank is in the coldest room of the house, too. No other drastic changes, though.
 

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I would switch to RO water I believe its over all cleaner and I love the stuff. also did you switch over your old gravel and if so did you rinse it first, because doing so would remove beneficial bacteria, I never use instant cycling additives in my tank I believe that it is a way to get people to spend more money, I would honestly say though to let your tank grow some more bacteria and everything should be perfect, ive never done water changes above 50% but give 90% a try and when your done do a filter change a little bit later then you usually would just for added bacteria. What filter do you have anyways? 

Just reread you original post I wouldn't do anything with the gravel or filter till everything is all settled, I personally don't and things work just fine for me invest in ghost shrimp I love the little guys they help cean up our tank and can even slightly increase your bio load if you have enough.
 
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Don't beat yourself up too badly, you're fixing the problem now ans that's all that can be done, though I am sorry that you've lost fish, that's never easy.

As far as moving old water, that's more about putting less stress on the fish during acclimation than bacteria. The vast majority of beneficial bacteria lives in your filter media, and a small amount lives is your substrate, very little is in the water at any given time because it needs something to cling to in order to survive for very long.

You say this tank has been running for a few months? I'm assuming the entire stock was added in one go if you were having problems with your previous setup?

How often do you check your water stats and what kind of test do you use? What kind if regular maintenance do you do on this tank and how often?

It sounds to me that either the filter never fully established a healthy colony of bacteria, or your nitrogen cycle crashed, or the filter you're using simply can't handle the bioload in the tank.

As far as the "instant cycle" products are concerned only a select few actually contain significant amounts of live bacteria. Dr. Tim's One and Only is a good one, Tetra Safe Start uses the same bacteria as Dr. Tim's. And I've used Fritz Zyme Turbo Starve with success, but most others either contain the wrong strain or simply not enough bacteria are alive by the time you purchase it and add it to your tank.
 
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Nimbose

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FreshwaterAfishianado said:
Don't beat yourself up too badly, you're fixing the problem now ans that's all that can be done, though I am sorry that you've lost fish, that's never easy.

As far as moving old water, that's more about putting less stress on the fish during acclimation than bacteria. The vast majority of beneficial bacteria lives in your filter media, and a small amount lives is your substrate, very little is in the water at any given time because it needs something to cling to in order to survive for very long.

You say this tank has been running for a few months? I'm assuming the entire stock was added in one go if you were having problems with your previous setup?

How often do you check your water stats and what kind of test do you use? What kind if regular maintenance do you do on this tank and how often?

It sounds to me that either the filter never fully established a healthy colony of bacteria, or your nitrogen cycle crashed, or the filter you're using simply can't handle the bioload in the tank.

As far as the "instant cycle" products are concerned only a select few actually contain significant amounts of live bacteria. Dr. Tim's One and Only is a good one, Tetra Safe Start uses the same bacteria as Dr. Tim's. And I've used Fritz Zyme Turbo Starve with success, but most others either contain the wrong strain or simply not enough bacteria are alive by the time you purchase it and add it to your tank.
I've got the other readings for you... Kind of.
 
Nitrites are at 0ppm and so are Nitrates. The PH, though... That was a little difficult.
 
I did the normal PH test and it came out as 6.0. I thought that couldn't be right, and the instructions said a higher PH wouldn't react with the test so I did the High Range PH test. It almost looks like it's going to be 7.4 but the colour isn't quite dark enough. Could the PH levels be the problem? This is the colour code card;

 
Yeah, the entire stock was added straight away as I was worried the old filter would end up breaking all together and would fill the tank with ammonia...
 
Recently, I've been checking the ammonia every day to keep an eye on it. The rest are probably done once a week. I use the API Master Kit.
 
As for maintenance, before this started I'd do a 25% change every week while adding the StressZyme and StressCoat. I'd make sure the filter didn't have anything stuck in it, but apart from that I planned to only clean it with tank water once a month.
 
Oh! About the filter, too. The tank I bought came with an Interpet filter but I found it was getting blocked very easily and I ended up having to clean it every day, sometimes multiple times a day, or the water flow would practically stop, despite the waste being minimal when I opened it up. I've only had the Fluval U3 for about a month, maybe less, so maybe that's the cause? It's still cycling?
 
I'll look into the products you've suggested; I think I've seen the Tetra Safe Start in my LFS, but I've never heard of Dr Tim or Fritz Zyme... I did a quick Amazon search and Dr. Tim is available in my country, but not Fritz Zyme.
 
Out of curiosity, since my ammonia levels never go higher than 1.0ppm at the moment, is that enough to harm my fish to the point of death?
Blondielovesfish said:
How long has it been since you changed the tanks over?
A couple of months; two months at the minimum, three at the maximum... I haven't been keeping track. Oops. ;n;
britt said:
I would switch to RO water I believe its over all cleaner and I love the stuff. also did you switch over your old gravel and if so did you rinse it first, because doing so would remove beneficial bacteria, I never use instant cycling additives in my tank I believe that it is a way to get people to spend more money, I would honestly say though to let your tank grow some more bacteria and everything should be perfect, ive never done water changes above 50% but give 90% a try and when your done do a filter change a little bit later then you usually would just for added bacteria. What filter do you have anyways? 

Just reread you original post I wouldn't do anything with the gravel or filter till everything is all settled, I personally don't and things work just fine for me invest in ghost shrimp I love the little guys they help cean up our tank and can even slightly increase your bio load if you have enough.
That's Reverse Osmosis, right? Hmn... Never heard of using that before. I did a quick search and it's apparently expensive; I'm not sure if I'd be able to afford that. I'll definitely take a closer look at it and see if it's something I'll be able to invest in, though!
 
The gravel is brand new, which might have been a mistake... I have looked at other forums and apparently old gravel is great for introducing beneficial bacteria?
 
Speaking of getting new additions, I did go to my LFS and ask about hardy bottom feeders to help reduce any waste food that might have escaped my attention, but the man said the problem with that is a new addition would simply raise the ammonia levels. Do Ghost Shrimps do that? And would they be in danger of getting eaten by my fish? The Danios and Kissing Gouramis can get quite... enthusiastic when they're hungry and I'd hate for them to hurt the little guys. :c
 

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yes reverse osmosis at my lfs its 50 cents a gallon so not too bad and I like it but if its too expensive that fine, and yes always always always keep old gravel and don't rinse it along with the old filter media when switching tanks, ghost shrimp shouldnt raise ammonia because they eat all the fish flakes and I think even poop off the bottom sometimes algae too but they poop much smaller then regular fish so I find them beneficial and cool to watch, I don't think they will have trouble in your tank with being eaten and such ive never had that issue but id try it out they are usually 50 cents a piece so throw one or two in there and see how they do and let me know. 
 

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here is the thing about those stubborn .25 or .5 ppm readings, they are usually false readings when you see them day in and day out. the reason is simple. if you had no ammonia bacs, the levels would be really high, so you know there are ammonia bacs that are healthy and doing fine. The next thing is if you get an ammonia reading or spike, what must follow is nitrite. But you say you have none.
 
We know you have ammonia bacs and for them to ramp up to handle an additional .5 ppm is something that happens fast, in a partially or well cycled tank it is a matter of hours. So it your ammonia bacs reproduce to handle the ammonia, from where did the .5 ppm reading the next day come. You did not add fish, you did not add ammonia, so why is it there? Even more important;y, suppose I asked you to do whatever it might take to make a tank read .5 ppm for ammonia day after day no matter when you test, there is 0 way you could make this happen, yet you are willing to accept this is happening naturally. It simply isn't possible, there has to variation up or down in the readings.
 
But suspending all this for a minute, lets assume you actually do have .5 ppm of ammonia, the bacs are going to turn that into about 1.25 ppm of nitrite, where is that nitrite? What all this is telling us is that the ammonia reading is most likely not real. there are any number of things that can cause the false readings you are geting from the side effect of dechloring to a bit of iron or cloudiness in the water.
 
So you have to decide what you think is going on. is that a real reading which defies all the chemistry and microbiology involved. Do you trust results on an cheap hobby kit with its know deficiencies or do you believe the science which tells us something is out of whack with what should be happening.
 
I am going to make two suggestions. The first is to change your dechlor. Try SeaChem Prime or Amquel or Amquel +. The second is my opinion that the best place to be putting those aquaballs in the loo (this site is making me turn into a Brit). Once established in a tank, nitrifying bacteria are there until you kill them off. If you do nothing like this a tank can stay cycled for decades with no additional bacteria being added. I have one 13 years old. If a bacterial additive is indeed effective, one single dose at the start is all that is needed. I have done a whole lot of research into this subject over the past few years and have only found 3 bacterial products I might use, this is not one. I have good personal experience with Dr. Tim's having cycled 5 tanks with it so far. Tetra's product was initially identical to Dr. Tim's, but they have made some changes to it. It still works but I would chose it 2nd. The 3rd product is called ABIL and is made by Avecom in Europe (http://avecom.be/en/products/aquaculture/abil). I do not know if it is available to the hobby but I know it is used in aquaculture and similar large scale operations.
 
If you can not determine what is in a bacterial product, when the maker puts up a smokescreen of proprietary process or bacteria, run for the hills. If you do not see on the label or discover by researching more that live nitrosomonas and nitrospira bacteria are in the bottle (for fw use), don't waste your money.
 
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OK. Well that clears up the "why" of the situation, your filter us not cycled. Fish-in cycling can take months even when done properly.

As for your question about the ammonia being at 1.0ppm, yes prolonged exposure at that level can and will poison fish, death is a matter of time if left at that level. You've already experienced ammonia poison deaths with some of the stock.

There is a section on this forum about cycling your tank.

As far as adding shrimp to your tank DO NOT add anything living to this tank until it is cycled. And concerning what Britt has suggested, RO water is only necessary with very fragile species that require extremely soft water. Shrimp will NOT eat fish waste, though they will clean up uneaten fish food and algae. They will NOT make your tank able to handle more stock, they do make your tank LOOK cleaner, but they are still a living creature and ADD ammonia to the system as waste just like fish do, though in smaller amounts. Shrimp should be kept only if you plan on caring for them just like any other fish and NOT kept as a replacement for normal maintenance, which they don't do.

As far as fixing your ammonia issue right now you need to continue doing large water changes daily until it is undetectable, ANY ammonia in your system is toxic to your fish and is slowly poisoning them.
 

TwoTankAmin

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I disagree almost 100% with everything stated in the above post. The poster has no idea whether 1 ppm of ammonia in your tank is an issue or not since you failed to give the pH and the  temp of the tank is fine. Higher pH and higher temps make ammonia at any given reading more toxic.They will be what determines if that 1 ppm is a problem needing immediate attention or if it is OK for the shorter term. pH is way more important than temperature in this regard.
 
As for the pH, your test results indicate you may have a pH crash. When you test with the high range kit and the result is 7.4, the lowest level, the next step is test using the low range kit. Conversely, if you test with the low range kit and the result is 7.6, you then test using the high kit.
 
It looks like your tank is at 6.0 or below. If so, this will do three things
1. Drastically slow the cycle.
2. Make ammonia a whole heck of a lot safer and less toxic by keeping it all in the form of NH4 and none in the form of NH3. Don't worry to much about this unless its up over 2 ppm for a few days.
3. Make nitrite more toxic. Worry about this, test daily for a while.
 
For future reference, the more historical info one can provide when posting about cycling problems, the easier it is to figure out what is going on and how to correct it. In the case of fish in cycling folks need to provide:
 
Tank Capacity.
List of all fish and their sizes. Info on any deaths.
Dates/timing and levels for all readings so far.
Info on water changes so far.
Info on dechlor used and at what levels.
If live plants are present and how many.
Tap water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and KH.
 
As for whether your tank may be cycled or not, it is most likely closer to cycled than to uncycled now. The fish deaths lowered the ammonia output making it easier to handle in terms of getting cycled. Also, the plants will consume some ammonia making the amount of bacteria needed to handle a tank less than without the plants.
 
If one fills a tank with 100% RO water and adds nothing but ammonia, it is likely it will never cycle. There are 0 bacteria in it to get things started. There is no KH in it so carbonates will be too low (these supply inorganic carbon). There is no iron in it either. For the ammonia bacs to process ammonia to nitrite, they both of these things as well as oxygen.
 
I can show you all sorts of lab research into ammonia and nitrite toxicity, Instead I will leave you with this summary from a study of these things for cardinal tetras. The goal of the study was to determine how many fish died when exposed to different ammonia levels for 96 hours (4 days).
 
At 0 ppm or .9 ppm of total ammonia as measured on a typical API test kit, no fish died. (O ppm was the control group.)
At 1.4 ppm, 2% of the fish died.
At 13.1 ppm, 15% of the fish died.
At 35.6 ppm 25% of the fish still did not die.
 
So I ask folks exactly why they keep saying that shorter term exposure to total ammonia .25 ppm or .5 ppm for short term periods is deadly? Especially when the pH and temp are not known. And please don't start with the harm side of things because at those .25 and .5 levels and even higher, there is more research to show many fish are able to tolerate higher levels for much longer than 4 days and suffer no lasting damage.
 
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Nimbose

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FreshwaterAfishianado said:
OK. Well that clears up the "why" of the situation, your filter us not cycled. Fish-in cycling can take months even when done properly.

As for your question about the ammonia being at 1.0ppm, yes prolonged exposure at that level can and will poison fish, death is a matter of time if left at that level. You've already experienced ammonia poison deaths with some of the stock.

There is a section on this forum about cycling your tank.

As far as adding shrimp to your tank DO NOT add anything living to this tank until it is cycled. And concerning what Britt has suggested, RO water is only necessary with very fragile species that require extremely soft water. Shrimp will NOT eat fish waste, though they will clean up uneaten fish food and algae. They will NOT make your tank able to handle more stock, they do make your tank LOOK cleaner, but they are still a living creature and ADD ammonia to the system as waste just like fish do, though in smaller amounts. Shrimp should be kept only if you plan on caring for them just like any other fish and NOT kept as a replacement for normal maintenance, which they don't do.

As far as fixing your ammonia issue right now you need to continue doing large water changes daily until it is undetectable, ANY ammonia in your system is toxic to your fish and is slowly poisoning them.
Ah, I thought as much. I was very wary of putting any more fish into the tank when half of my tank passed away in the first place; no need to add to that pointlessly...
 
I just got back from doing a large water change and I tested the water before and after; annoyingly, no change... Still between 0.50 and 1.00. But, I suppose the plus side is that it hasn't gotten worse. If the filter is still indeed cycling, then I'll just have to persevere with the water changes and hope for the best. My fish look like they're in perfect health at the moment; it's almost impossible to think fish could have died when I look at them. Hopefully this is a sign of their hardiness and longer exposure won't have too much of an effect on them before the ammonia vanishes. I guess it's just a waiting game for them. :c
 
I'm gonna do an even larger water change tomorrow and see if that takes the edge off a little.
 
Thank you for your help; I know it must be annoying when people like me come here and make the same mistake as eachother... You're a sweetheart!
 
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Nimbose

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TwoTankAmin said:
I disagree almost 100% with everything stated in the above post. The poster has no idea whether 1 ppm of ammonia in your tank is an issue or not since you failed to give the pH and the  temp of the tank is fine. Higher pH and higher temps make ammonia at any given reading more toxic.They will be what determines if that 1 ppm is a problem needing immediate attention or if it is OK for the shorter term. pH is way more important than temperature in this regard.
 
As for the pH, your test results indicate you may have a pH crash. When you test with the high range kit and the result is 7.4, the lowest level, the next step is test using the low range kit. Conversely, if you test with the low range kit and the result is 7.6, you then test using the high kit.
 
It looks like your tank is at 6.0 or below. If so, this will do three things
1. Drastically slow the cycle.
2. Make ammonia a whole heck of a lot safer and less toxic by keeping it all in the form of NH4 and none in the form of NH3. Don't worry to much about this unless its up over 2 ppm for a few days.
3. Make nitrite more toxic. Worry about this, test daily for a while.
 
For future reference, the more historical info one can provide when posting about cycling problems, the easier it is to figure out what is going on and how to correct it. In the case of fish in cycling folks need to provide:
 
Tank Capacity.
List of all fish and their sizes. Info on any deaths.
Dates/timing and levels for all readings so far.
Info on water changes so far.
Info on dechlor used and at what levels.
If live plants are present and how many.
Tap water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and KH.
 
As for whether your tank may be cycled or not, it is most likely closer to cycled than to uncycled now. The fish deaths lowered the ammonia output making it easier to handle in terms of getting cycled. Also, the plants will consume some ammonia making the amount of bacteria needed to handle a tank less than without the plants.
 
If one fills a tank with 100% RO water and adds nothing but ammonia, it is likely it will never cycle. There are 0 bacteria in it to get things started. There is no KH in it so carbonates will be too low (these supply inorganic carbon). There is no iron in it either. For the ammonia bacs to process ammonia to nitrite, they both of these things as well as oxygen.
 
I can show you all sorts of lab research into ammonia and nitrite toxicity, Instead I will leave you with this summary from a study of these things for cardinal tetras. The goal of the study was to determine how many fish died when exposed to different ammonia levels for 96 hours (4 days).
 
At 0 ppm or .9 ppm of total ammonia as measured on a typical API test kit, no fish died. (O ppm was the control group.)
At 1.4 ppm, 2% of the fish died.
At 13.1 ppm, 15% of the fish died.
At 35.6 ppm 25% of the fish still did not die.
 
So I ask folks exactly why they keep saying that shorter term exposure to total ammonia .25 ppm or .5 ppm for short term periods is deadly? Especially when the pH and temp are not known. And please don't start with the harm side of things because at those .25 and .5 levels and even higher, there is more research to show many fish are able to tolerate higher levels for much longer than 4 days and suffer no lasting damage.
Oh, that's interesting... My fish aren't showing any signs of poisoning or bad health so perhaps that's what's going on, especially if I can't get an accurate reading on either PH test. Unless, of course, it's telling the truth and it's 6.0. That definitely adds a bit of relief, if it's making the ammonia less toxic. Thankfully, when I tested the nitrites it registered at 0ppm. I'll make sure to test that regularly along with the ammonia to keep track of things.
 
I just did a quick search and someone on another fish forum said that ammonia turns into ammonium in acidic tanks, and testing kits might pick up ammonium as ammonia. So it might be either one my test kit is picking up on? My tap water is very soft and acidic (I'm so used to Welsh water, that when I visited England, London to be specific, the water tasted disgusting because it was so hard), so that might be the cause of the low PH, I imagine. Which results in the ammonia in my tank being turned into ammonium? Gosh, I'm giving myself a headache! I don't know if it's accurate information, though...
 
Of course, I can't rely on that alone and just forget about it all. Gonna definitely keep up the water changes in case harmful toxins build up. I really don't want to lose my fish; they're so full of personality.
 
I'll remember to use that little guide for info if I ever need help with another issue; I don't know if it'll help now but I'll post it here;
 
Tank Capacity  - 120 Litres/30 gallons
List of all fish and their sizes  - Three Long-Finned Zebra Danios; Around 2 inches each. Red Honey Gourami; 2.5 inches. Two Kissing Gouramis; 3.5-4 inches. Weather Loach; 7-7.5 inches.
Info on any deaths - Very sudden; all showed no signs of illness apart from the Chinese Algae Sucker who looked a little pale before he died the next morning.
Dates/timing and levels for all readings so far - Don't have the dates and times recorded but the readings for today were; PH - 6.0, Ammonia - 0.50 - 1.0, Nitrates - 0, Nitrites - 0
Info on water changes so far - Varies from 25% to 50%, planning to do a 90% one like advised. Been doing water changes once a day to keep ammonia levels down.
Info on dechlor used and at what levels - API StressZyme; ammount varies on the amount of water changed; advised 5mls per 40 litres, so if I do a 50% water change I put in 7mls.
If live plants are present and how many - Two Amazon Broadleaves
Tap water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and KH - Have only recorded ammonia so far which was at 0.
 
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No problem, that's what these forums are for. As for what TwoTankAmin has said, yes it is true that a lower pH does make ammonia less toxic and nitrite more toxic, but in a fully cycled tank the reading should.be 0 for both. Also I find assuming a false positive test result both irresponsible and illogical, toxins have already obviously reached toxic levels which resulted in the fish losses that occurred. There could very well be a reading for ammonia without a nitrite reading in either a case of an uncycled filter or a stalled cycle.

I know there is a lot of science behind ammonia toxicity levels but I wasn't talking short-term, I was speaking of prolonged exposure, and trying to say that its not dangerous is counter-intuitive considering that deaths have already occurred in this tank.

I was simply trying to give the best practical advice based on the situation at hand, which is simply keep ammonia levels as low as possible while trying to rebuild a healthy bacterial colony.in your filtration system.

Good luck, keep us posted
 
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Nimbose

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FreshwaterAfishianado said:
No problem, that's what these forums are for. As for what TwoTankAmin has said, yes it is true that a lower pH does make ammonia less toxic and nitrite more toxic, but in a fully cycled tank the reading should.be 0 for both. Also I find assuming a false positive test result both irresponsible and illogical, toxins have already obviously reached toxic levels which resulted in the fish losses that occurred. There could very well be a reading for ammonia without a nitrite reading in either a case of an uncycled filter or a stalled cycle.

I know there is a lot of science behind ammonia toxicity levels but I wasn't talking short-term, I was speaking of prolonged exposure, and trying to say that its not dangerous is counter-intuitive considering that deaths have already occurred in this tank.

I was simply trying to give the best practical advice based on the situation at hand, which is simply keep ammonia levels as low as possible while trying to rebuild a healthy bacterial colony.in your filtration system.

Good luck, keep us posted
Yes, I definitely won't be assuming anything until all readings are down to 0... Even if it's ammonium, that's still not acceptable in the long run. If it is, though, it buys me some time. Either way, I gotta get this sorted pronto. I guess I'm just trying to stay positive instead of panicking. Heh. I almost thought I'd lost my little Honey Gourami for a moment, but he was simply resting in a blind spot between some leaves.
 
It's weird, though. I went downstairs to get a midnight snack and I thought I may as well check the tap PH (Normal and High Range) while I'm there and it definitely wasn't as soft as the tank. 7.0, minimum. So something in the tank has lowered the PH, as I tested that again too and it still read as 6.0. How... Bizarre.
 
I'll make sure to come back and let you know if things change, both for the good and bad.
 
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